Sunday, June 17, 2018

AcroYoga - Big LeMoi Washing Machine

We have been working on Big LeMoi for awhile now and it is finally starting to click. This washing machine starts in Reverse Inside Side Star, transitions to Throne and then back to Reverse Inside Side Star on the other foot before repeating itself. Big LeMoi always felt scary and unstable until we started doing regular Side Star drills every practice.

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Sunday, May 13, 2018

AcroYoga - Nunchucks Washing Machine

We have made big improvements with Nunchucks this past week. This washing machine is a combination of Bird and Reverse Back Fly. We first learned it in a class at the AcroLove Festival in 2017 but it was always pretty awkward for us. We learned a lot studying the Patreon lesson of Jacob Brown and Debbie Collis. We have now found a better balance point so Tori is much lighter in my hands. I don't need to rest my elbows on the ground anymore as Tori flies behind my legs and she practicality pops back up without a lot of effort on my part.

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Saturday, April 21, 2018

AcroYoga - Noah the Reluctant Flyer

I love basing but flying is definitely out of my comfort zone. Here is Jesse basing me in my first Mono Reverse Star.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Trapeze High Spring Spectacular Show

Trapeze High Spring Spectacular Show was this weekend and while I didn't fly or catch this time, I took photos and videos for the performers.

Before the Flying Trapeze began, there were several circus acts to warm up the crowd. Tatum began with her Quick Change Act before Isaac performed his Balloon and Balancing Acts. Cami's wowed the crowd with her contortions before joining Vanessa, Maya and Tatum for their Acro Girls performance under the trapeze net.

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There was lots of great flying with a big variety of tricks! Isaac, Tommy, Chris, and Nick worked hard to catch all the Flyers in their troupes.

Lianna - Layout Catch (Catcher - Isaac)

Angela - Uprise

Lianna - Double

Jessica - Cutaway Half

Tatum - Legs Catch (Catcher - Tommy)

Vanessa - Splits Catch (Catcher - Tommy)

Gina - Turnaround

Reese - Whip

Celeste - Birdie

Betty - Knee Hang Catch (Catcher - Chris)

Jeri - Pump Shoot Catch (Catcher - Chris)

Cami - Splits Catch (Bonus Trick: Holding an upside down standing splits in Chris’ hand.)

Gina - Half Time Full Twisting Straight Jump Catch (Catcher - Chris)

Reese - Shooting Star Catch (Catcher - Chris)

Cami - Russian Splits

Chris - Cradle Net Trick

Trapeze High Show Performers Line-Up

Here is the Highlights Video I created from my GoPro Camera that I placed up high on the Trapeze rig next to the Catch Trap. I was curious how all the flying trapeze tricks would look all cut together rapid-fire and I think it came out pretty well.

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After the Trapeze performance, Lianna and Kenny demoed a two-person Kiiker Swing for any of the audience who wanted to try it. For those not confident enough to attempt it on their own, they could go over the top with a more experienced swinger.

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Come take a class at Trapeze High and start learning these fun tricks too!

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Trapeze & Kiiker (Welk Spring Fling Festival)

This is the second year that Trapeze High has set up their rig on the golf course of the Welk Resort. To get it ready for the weekend Spring Fling Festival, we erected the rig on Friday. The crane bars went up pretty quickly but it took until 4 to finish setting up the net.

The festival opened at noon on Saturday and I worked up on the board for the first two hours while Tori manned the waivers tent. I spent most of the time lifting little kids so they could reach the bar. Lots of new flyers were able to try flying trapeze for the first time. Hopefully, they will be excited enough by this taste of circus to come take a class at Trapeze High in Escondido where they will learn some tricks and have them caught by a catcher.

Dave set up his new 11' Kiiking Swing next to the Trapeze Rig. While a lot of people attempted it, only a few managed to get over the top. Squatting over and over again against the heavy g-forces at the bottom of the swing is a hardcore legs workout! Dave and Lianna strapped in several times to demonstrate for the crowd. After coming down from a shift on the trapeze rig, Dave asked if I wanted to demo it as well. This was only my second time on the Kiiker but I had much more control this time. No more yelps of fear as I went over the top. Ha!

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Sunday, March 25, 2018

Deer Park Monastery Hike (with Trapeze Fun)

Tori and I went out to Trapeze High and went for hike up to Deer Park Monastery with Lindsay. The Vietnamese Buddhist Sanctuary was founded in 2000 by the followers of the 91 year old monk, Thich Nhat Hanh. It was a 1.7 mile hike up into the 400 acre property to reach the small white statue of Buddha. Chimes hung from the trees, with decorative rocks spread out to form a small labyrinth, a butterfly and the word, Love.

Nearby, a small three tiered Pagoda overlooks the hills of Escondido. We relaxed on the cushions inside, listening to the small singing bells before hiking back down. I had forgotten my shoes so it was a bit tough on my sandaled feet during the last section of the 3.4 mile hike.

Before the hike, I flew for the first time with the heavy bar. The thinner bar was torture on my hands until Lindsay lent me her grips. With my legs almost straight, the video below was my best Man Splits of the day. I also climbed up into the catch trap and did some locks. I felt a little dizzy after 5 so I came down. I hope this dizziness isn't a reoccurring thing for me.

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Sunday, March 11, 2018

AcroYoga - Revolutions Washing Machine

Tori and I working on Revolutions at Swami's Beach. This washing machine is an extension of the 3 Step Rotisserie, where the flyer is rotated transversely out of a one-legged sideways Back Fly into Inside Side Star before hip rotating in Rotisserie back to Back Fly. We both really like this one that we learned from Jacob Brown and Debbie Collis.

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Sunday, March 04, 2018

AcroYoga - Propeller Washing Machine

The Propeller washing machine rotates between Bird and Reverse Bird with a tricky 5th position step that Tori and I had to practice over and over again to get right.

Base View of the Propeller Washing Machine.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Cabrillo National Monument (Bayside Trail and Point Loma Tidepools)

Today, Tori and I went to Cabrillo National Monument on the tip of the Point Loma peninsula with Chad and Nicole. Even though I have been to the monument several times, none of us had ever gone down the two mile Bayside Trail. The trail used to be a military access road and we stopped at the old Searchlight Shelter that housed a giant 60-inch searchlight that illuminated the entrance to the San Diego Harbor during World War II. It sat on a 75 foot narrow-gauge track that allowed the men to wheel it out of the shelter at night. Further down the trail was the small power plant holding the gas generators that powered the two searchlights on the point. It was a beautiful day with great views across the bay to North Island Naval Air Station.

After our short hike, we drove down to the Point Loma Tidepools on the ocean side of the peninsula. It was close to the 10am high-tide so most of the pools were still covered with crashing waves. Since we couldn't study the tidal ecosystem up close, we practiced our Standing Acrobatic poses on the cliff rocks instead. Our Reverse Thighstand looked like the scene from the bow of the Titanic.

Following the coastal path, we spotted several seals swimming out in the surf. I attempted to take a picture of a small wave splashing into the rocks below me and it sprayed me down petty good. It was our first time visiting this lovely spot despite living in San Diego our whole lives. There were a lot of sail boats off the coast. I am pretty sure we saw the giant foiling wingsail of a racing catamaran. The single black sail towered over the surrounding boats as it quickly overtook them out on the water.

There was about fifty cars waiting in line to enter the park when we left so I am glad we came earlier at 10am. We were all starving so we went for tacos at Barrio Star.  I love their corn tortillas.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Valentines AcroYoga Workshop
(High Bird and Handstand on Knees)

Tori and I went to Bird Rock Yoga in Pacific Beach this weekend for the Valentines AcroYoga Workshop. Steven and Gina taught us a cool flow without any L-basing that ended with several standing poses. We were excited to learn the transition from Reverse Thigh Stand to Handstand on Knees since we have wanting to try it for awhile now.

I also finally based High Bird successfully. I have attempted it several times in the past but I always needed lots of hands-on assistance from my spotters. The technique Steven and Gina taught used momentum instead strength to get the flyer overhead. On my third try, I surprised myself when Tori popped straight up with little effort. I was able to repeat the pose with Gina in the video below.

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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Anza-Borrego Desert (Palm Oasis, Dinosaurs and the Salton Sea)

Tori and I like to go on short getaways for our Wedding Anniversaries. After traveling across North America to visit Montreal last year, we stayed close and visited Borrego Springs, the small resort town surrounded by the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Even though it is within the Eastern border of San Diego County, it still took two hours to drive there since it sits on the far side of the Laguna Mountains. We arrived at La Casa del Zorro (The House of the Fox) around 8pm where we checked into a really nice room with a fireplace overlooking the pool. On the bed sat a little Desert Fox so we took turns pretending to base the stuffed animal in different AcroYoga poses. (It was my first time basing a Mono-Limb Free Star. Ha!) After eating dinner at the bar, we walked over to the resort's Stargazing Theater. Since the isolated town is a designated "Dark-Sky Community", we had great views of the stars within the high wooden walls blocking the lights of the surrounding buildings.

After breakfast, we explored the grounds of the resort. In the light of day, the Stargazing Theater looked exactly like a former gun range with a tall earthen berm down range of the divided shooting stands. Outside the theater was a small vineyard and climbing rock. We walked the maze of the Labyrinth, moved some pieces around the Giant Chess Board and played a little Shuffle Board. I managed to slide a disk onto the 10 spot with my very first attempt.

At 10am, we drove over to the Anza-Borrego Visitor Center, a nice underground building that blended in with the landscape. Anza-Borrego Desert is named after the Spanish explorer Juan Bautista de Anza and borrego, the Spanish word for bighorn sheep which live in the surrounding mountains. It is the largest state park in California and second largest in the lower 48. Anza-Borrego sits within the Colorado Desert which is part of the greater Sonoran Desert which extends into Arizona and Mexico. The volunteer at the desk suggested we visit the nearby Borrego Palm Canyon Trail, a 3 mile hike up to a shady oasis filled with palm trees. At the trail head, we had a beautiful view of the San Ysidro Mountains and the sharp peak of Indianhead on either side of Borrego Palm Canyon. We kept an eye out for the Big Horn Sheep on the steep walls but we didn't see any as we followed the numbered markers up the canyon and read about the local flora and fauna from the nature guide.

One mile up, after passing many scattered palm trunks uprooted during past flash floods, we heard flowing water for the first time. I was expecting only a trickle in the dry desert but it was nice size stream forming pools and small waterfalls among the rocks as we hiked our way to the large cluster of palm trees. Geological faults in the region force the groundwater up to the surface at the oasis which is filled with California Fan Palms, the only palm trees native to the state. The shaggy hanging skirts help conserve water and protect the trees from insects. Leaving the shady oasis, Tori managed to find a suitable willow branch to hang from to continue her wedding anniversary tradition.

On the hike back, we took the Alternate Trail which crossed the mountain slope instead following the canyon floor down. I think it provided prettier views of the surrounding valley than the main route as we hiked in and out of the shadows cast by the ridge line. We had to be careful of the numerous Cholla Cacti lining the trail. The tall and spiny Ocotillo Plants were sprouting shiny green leaves and the occasional red flowers all around us. The temperature was perfect on a beautiful January day.

After our hike, we drove over to Galleta Meadows Estate on the north side of Borrego Springs.  Before the owner, Dennis Avery, passed away in 2012, he commissioned Ricardo Breceda to place several of his signature metal sculptures on the large tracts of empty conservation lands he owned in the desert. Over time the number has grown to over 130 art pieces spread out around the town. Many of the metal sculptures are representations of fossils found in the region. At our first stop, we found extinct Camels, Tortoises and Gomphotheres, an elephant-like animal sporting four huge tusks. Nearby was the more fantastical sculptures of the giant Scorpion and Grasshopper facing off.

Further down the road, we found several representations of the Harlan's Ground Sloth. These life-sized sculptures captured the enormity of these extinct animals that grew up to 10 feet and over a 1,000 pounds. Scattered across the landscape were smaller sculptures of boars and saber-tooth cats. The most famous sculpture is the awesome Sand Serpent that spans 350 feet and crosses over to the far side of Borrego Springs Road with the distinctive tail of a rattlesnake. Tori had plenty of room to handstand within the giant serpent's coils. After the sun disappeared behind the San Ysidro Mountains, we came across the metal representations of more modern animals like Elephants and Bighorn Sheep.

After checking out of our resort the next morning, we went to visit the rest of the metal art pieces on the south side of town. While most of the sculptures are close to the main roads, we had to drive out pretty far on a dirt road to reach the dinosaurs. While our Subaru has all-wheel drive, I still had to be careful driving over the rough uneven road due to its low to the ground profile. Our first encounter was with a fearsome Spinosaurus. It must be fairly new since it was not completely covered with red rust yet. I had fun running for my life from a pair of hungry dinosaurs, an Allosaurus and Carnosaurus. I had make sure I didn't stumble into a cactus. Look closely in the picture below to spot the Tyrannosaurus Rex lurking among the blooming Ocotillo branches.

Leaving town toward the Salton Sea, we headed east through the Borrego Badlands on the 21 mile Erosion Road Tour. Starting just past the small airport, we had a good view of Font's Point from the highway, but if our all-wheel Subaru had a higher profile, I would have wanted to take the dirt road out to the edge of the plateau. Supposedly it has the best view of the entire state park, especially when the sun is setting over the badlands. Driving on, we stopped at all the mile markers to read about the different geological features of the landscape, the desert arroyos that drain into Clark's Dry Lake, Lute Ridge lifted up by the Clark Fault that runs underneath it and the young Coyote Mountain with the rest of the still-rising Santa Rosa Mountains. While we didn't get the best view from Font's Point, we still got a decent view of the Badlands near Mile Marker 34. From the turn-off at Truckhaven Rocks we got our first view of the Salton Sea beyond the steep gorges and slot canyons of the Barrancas. Our last stop on the road tour was the former World War II Calcite Mine. It was the largest in North America and the clear crystals were processed by the Polaroid Company into the most accurate optical ring sights for the military.

Arriving at the Salton Sea from the West, we circled clock-wise over the top to reach the Salton Sea State Recreation Area along the inland sea's North Shore. The Visitor Center stood at 236 feet below sea level where it was a short walk to reach the slowly shrinking shoreline. The sea (15 by 35 miles) was formed when the Colorado River broke a levee in 1905 and flooded the desert for two years before it was brought under control. Beautiful from a distance, up close the murky water was lined with barnacle shells and the occasional fish carcass. As a valuable stopping point along their seasonal migrations, the water was filled with floating birds. As we walked along the shallow harbor, several military jets flew past at low-altitude with loud sonic booms.

While the western shore of the Salton Sea was lined with houses and palm tree groves, the protected eastern shore was undeveloped with pretty views of the shining sea as we drove down the coast. Just before the highway turned inland we reached Bombay Beach. This small resort town was popular in the 50's and 60's before the shrinking Salton Sea became too salty and polluted and now the population has dropped to under 300 residents. Driving down the perfectly straight streets of this planned community, we saw a mixture of occupied and abandoned homes sitting side by side with empty lots and art installations created from the Bombay Beach Biennale art festival. One of the most clever art works by Stefan Ashkenazy and Sean Dale Taylor is the cool Bombay Beach Drive-In with junkyard cars arranged in neat rows to face the projection screen created from a white-painted semi-trailer.

Due to occasional flooding, a tall berm now lines the mostly deserted street closest to the beach. Driving up through a cut in the berm, we passed though the empty foundations and ruins of the former waterfront to park next to the abandoned boat sitting up on dry land. The water stood about 100 yards away from the original shoreline so I wondered if they still needed the dike at all but I guess the sea can rise rapidly during heavy rains. Bombay Beach's other claims to fame are that it sits at the southern end of the San Andreas Fault and is also one of the lowest settlements by elevation in North America.

Driving south, we turned East at the town of Niland to head toward Slab City, named for the concrete slabs remaining from abandoned Camp Dunlap, a former World War II Marine Base. Now it is mostly populated by RVs and squatters who live off-grid during the cooler winter months with no electricity, water, toilets or trash pickup. There is population of about 150 who live there year-round. Our main destination in Slab City was Salvation Mountain, a man-made hill covered in thick layers of paint that sits at the entrance. Leonard Knight, who passed away in 2014, started building this version of the mountain after his first attempt collapsed in 1989. Two volunteers were adding a fresh coat of paint to the Sea of Galilee at the base when we arrived.

We climbed the Yellow Brick Road to the large cross sitting on the 50 foot summit where we could see the rest of Slab City extending off behind the mountain. Beyond the unfinished dome of the Museum, a fire burned among the farm fields surrounding Brawley. We explored the twisty passages of the Museum where interlocking branches held up the painted walls made of hay bales and scavenged window panes. The elderly Leonard passed away before he could enclose the dome completely. On the ground outside were hundreds of empty paint cans. Over the years, he estimated he used over 100,000 gallons of paint on his mountain. Next to the Museum was a small domed hogan that Leonard planned to live in to escape the heat but he never moved out of his trailer.

It was 3pm by the time we headed home from our Anniversary getaway, driving South through the farmlands of Brawley and El Centro before jumping on the I-8 Freeway back to the coast of San Diego.